Trends in Customer Service

I wrote earlier regarding trends in the POS industry. Most of these trends were with the technology of the product we provide. This is only one aspect of my industry.

Our business would be nothing without our customers. This influences how we develop our products and services. And when something goes wrong, our customers need technical and customer support help.

Customer service seems basic on the surface. It’s an expectation we have as consumers. Having worked in customer facing roles most of my life, I can say it is more of an art form and there are in fact evolutions in the trade due to changing technologies and customer expectations.

Technology is a huge driver to trends in customer service. Many companies now offer more than just phone and email support. Chat, text, and even social media support are growing quickly. To keep up, traditional call centres need to look for tools to adapt. Most of these come in the form of Contact Centre solutions. I am currently evaluating vendor options for my company—this experience has been incredible. Voice analytics that can be used to determine an angry customer or text scanning to identify urgent emails are just some of the unbelievable features available in some solutions.

I’ve recently noticed a high quantity of marketing emails from companies I follow regarding longer than usual wait times. This reminded me of some other trends:

In this article there are two trends that could possible impact customer wait times if you are caught unprepared with the right tools. There is an inherent conflict between the customers wanting faster support and a more personalized experience. Personalization can take time—it takes time to learn about a customer and build a rapport. In the typical support environment this can lead to longer calls, which then can lead to longer wait times if you do not have the resources to accommodate. Tools can also help this personalization trend—modern contact centre programs can pull up detailed information about a caller, allowing agents to quickly learn about the caller. If you do not have these tools, it will become increasingly difficult to keep up with these new demands in customer trends.

What does this mean for learning and development?

While many of these tools are more intuitive for the users, the introduction of new tools introduces new training needs and skills. Experience with these products will start to become an asset for recruiters. Training facilitators will need to keep up to date on these technological changes and product familiarity to help optimize business needs as they change.

The change in customer demands will also create a need for more soft skills training in relationship building, customer experience, and conflict management. This could also mean adopting new training techniques—coaching, role playing, and reflective practices—as traditional lecture and test methodology may not be effective for the soft skills.


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